IMG_3488.JPG

Redshirt junior wide receiver Hakeem Butler stiff arms a Kansas State defender after a catch against the Wildcats on Nov. 24. The Cyclones defeated Kansas State 42-38.

If you're a Cyclone fan following the NFL paths of former Iowa State athletes, pull out your calendar because some important dates are coming up.

For running back David Montgomery and wide receiver Hakeem Butler, the action begins in March. The former Cyclone duo is listed as the only participants from Iowa State at the NFL Combine, according to NFL.com.

The on-field portion of the combine showcases offensive players on March 1-2. Montgomery will go first on March 1 with the rest of the running backs in attendance. Wide receivers participate on March 2.

While the combine will influence both players' draft stock, the pair is already being evaluated and projected for the NFL Draft on April 25-27.

USA Today pegged both players to be selected near each other in its latest mock draft: Montgomery at No. 57 to Philadelphia and Butler at No. 59 to Indianapolis. 

CBS Sports placed Montgomery at No. 61 overall (No. 3 running back) and Bulter at No. 69 overall (No. 9 wide receiver) in its draft prospect rankings, not accounting for specific team needs or fits.

Despite the disparity in position rankings, Butler is near Montgomery in most mock drafts. Regardless of which one is the better player, the positions are important based on how the NFL views value.

a-0651.jpg

Iowa State running back David Montgomery runs a play during the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28. The Cyclones fell to the Cougars 28-26.

Since the 2013 draft, teams haven't invested as heavily in running backs. 

Prior to the 2013-14 stretch without a first-round running back, a running back hadn't been taken in the first round since 1963.

Some of this can be attributed to the league shifting to more passing offenses, and teams cycling through running backs quicker.

On the flip side, a wide receiver's been drafted in the first round every year since 2008. 

Currently, it looks like Iowa State's first-round pick drought dating back to 1973 won't be broken, but its draftless streak dating back to 2014 almost certainly will.

If one of the two break it, it'd likely be Butler, based on the value teams place on the wide receiver position. Butler's also suited better to turn some heads at the combine due to his 6-foot-6 frame and blazing speed for his size.

While he has problems with drops and other small knocks, Butler has the physical skills to potentially propel himself up the draft boards with a standout combine. 

Keep an eye out for the start of March.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.